Tuesday, December 05, 2006

College Playoff System

All of the whining about the BCS has led me to create a fair and equitable playoff system that meets the concerns about extending the season and removing all complaints about the current system.

Here is how my system would play out for this season, with my picks (or actual winners) in bold:

Week 1: Championship Week
- require all major BCS bowls to have a championship game
- this is the first round of the playoffs

ACC Championship game: Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech

Big East Championship game: Louisville vs. West Virginia

Big Ten Championship game: Ohio State vs. Michigan/Wisconsin

Big 12 Championship game: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

Pac-10 Championship game: Southern Cal vs. California

SEC Championship Game: Florida vs. Arkansas

Independence Bowl: Independent/BCS at-large Notre Dame vs. Non-BCS #1 Boise State

Capital One Bowl: BCS at-large LSU vs. Non-BCS #2 Texas Christian

Second Round
- played over Christmas

Cotton Bowl: SEC Champion vs. Big 12 Champion
Florida vs. Oklahoma

Gator Bowl: Independence Bowl Champion vs. Big Ten Champion
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State [OK, I'm a little biased...]

Fiesta Bowl: ACC Champion vs. Capital One Bowl Champion
Wake Forest vs. LSU

Orange Bowl: Big East Champion vs. Pac-10 Champion
Louisville vs. Southern Cal

Third Round
- played over New Year's

Rose Bowl: Gator Bowl Champion vs. Orange Bowl Champion
Notre Dame vs. Southern Cal [again, a little bias, but I would love another shot...]

Sugar Bowl: Cotton Bowl Champion vs. Fiesta Bowl Champion
LSU vs. Florida

Championship game (played the week after New Year's):

Rose Bowl Champion vs. Sugar Bowl Champion
Notre Dame vs. Florida

This system allows the remaining bowl games to remain in place, comprising the teams that are bowl eligible that did not get into the playoffs. Under this system, the only people who currently play in bowls but will not are the losers of the Conference championship games.

The games are all played during traditional bowl times, except some New Year's bowls are being moved to Christmas. The other bowls could be used to fill up the season between Championship week and the second round.

There are no complaints from non-BCS schools, as they get two slots (from five conferences). There may be some complaints about who gets the at-large BCS slots, but this system had the same number of at-large spots this year as the BCS bowls did, so I subbed in the same teams. This allows the team that didn't win their conference but were really good (ala LSU) to get a shot at the championship.

It maintains traditional bowl matchups in most seasons (SEC-Big 12 Cotton; Big 10-Pac-10 Rose, etc.).

And, most importantly, it gets decided on the field.

Now we just need to make it happen.

Monday, December 04, 2006


That sound I've been hearing from up north is the collective groans, whines, and complaints of the Wolverine Nation (aka Ann Arbor, who is a whore) for being booted out of the National Championship game.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Team A, during their bye week, gets passed by Team B. If it sounds familiar, it's because it happened to Notre Dame earlier this season, as Auburn passed them in the AP poll during their bye week. And that was after a win.

This week, Florida pulled the same shenanigans on Michigan, who were passed in both the Harris Poll and the ESPN poll while they were sitting at home eating cheeseburgers.

So it's not like there isn't precedent.

Ultimately, I begrudgingly have to admit that the BCS worked out well this year. Instead of a rematch in the National Championship, another 1-loss team gets a shot at Ohio State for all the marbles. Although I'd like to see the title shot go to unbeaten Boise State. And see them get absolutely crushed.


#11 Notre Dame, 10-2 vs. #4 LSU, 10-2
This battle between heavyweights will be the 10th meeting between the two schools, which has been a seesaw battle. The Irish won their first game against the Tigers in 1970 in an epic defensive struggle between the 2nd ranked Irish and the 7th ranked Tigers. The next year, the #14 Tigers got their revenge, upsetting the #7 Irish 28-8. In 1981, we blew out a #4 LSU team at home in Gerry Faust's first game, taking the Irish from unranked to #11 in one week. Three years later, Faust took an unranked Irish team and marched into Tiger stadium, beating the #6 Tigers 30-22, arguably the second biggest win of his career. The next year, in his last year as head coach, Gerrry Faust lost to the Tigers 10-7. Lou Holtz also got a shot at the Tigers in his first year, losing to LSU 19-2, tying the series at 3-3. In 1997, under Bob Davie, we got to play LSU twice, beating them 24-6 in the regular season, but dropping the Independence Bowl to them by a score of 27-9. The next year, we got our series edge back by beating the 10th ranked Tigers 39-36.

And so the series stands at 5-4, with Notre Dame having lost the only neutral site game in the series. LSU has been one of our toughest opponents traditionally, and this year is no exception. The Tigers come in ranked 4th in the nation, with their 2 losses coming in close gmes to #2 Florida and #9 Auburn, and big wins over #12 Arkansas and #17 Tennessee. Notre Dame comes limping in to the game after their second blowout loss, having lost to #3 Michigan and #5 USC. Notre Dame's only other win over a ranked opponent was a come from behind win against #25 UCLA.

The Tigers are #18 in total offense, and #2 in total defense. They are a fairly balanced offensive attack, and are an impressive 10th in scoring offense, which shows efficiency. They are 15th against the run, which is impressive. But they are an incredible 3rd against the pass, allowing only 145 yards per game in the air. This means that this team will challenge Brady Quinn. They are 4th in the country in scoring defense, giving up only 12.5 points per game. JaMarcus Russell is third in the nation in pass efficiency, ahead of Brady Quinn.

The Irish come in only 22nd in total offense and 45th in total defense. They are exteremly efficient on offense, however, averaging 32.42 poins per game, just behind LSU at #12. Notre Dame is an ugly #57 in scoring defense, largely due to the losses to Michigan and USC.

On paper, this looks like a Tiger win. But the Irish have a few stats that give me some hope.

They are +5 in turnover margin, and 3rd in the country in turnovers lost. LSU is even in turnover margin, and a pitiful 89th in turnovers gained. We will not turn over the ball.

Geoffrey Price is 6th in punting, and LSU doesn't even have a player in the top 96. LSU is bad at punt coverage (so are we), but we have a better punter. We can win the field position battle.

Our keys to victory:
1) pass rush - LSU averages 3.25 sacks per game, and allows only 1.5 - we have to win the battle in the trenches
2) don't give up the big play - this is a very efficient offense, and we cannot let them beat us deep we need to improve our 3rd down defense
3) play keep away - we can win field position and the turnover battle, just don't make any mistakes
4)put the ball in Brady's hands - this vaunted pass defense will not frustrate Brady if he finds time to throw. He is the best QB in the nation, and LSU will be bumfuzzled.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interesting Potential Bowl Matchups

The “I wish the field would open up and swallow both teams” Bowl:
Champs Sports Bowl: Boston College v. Purdue (I’m only teasing, Bek)

The “How the mighty have fallen” Bowl:
Alamo Bowl: Previously ranked #2 Texas (#17) v. Previously ranked #13 Iowa (unranked)

The “How the mighty have really fallen” Bowl:
Emerald Bowl: Florida State vs. UCLA

The “How the mighty have really really plummeted, I mean taken a complete nose dive and shouldn’t even be in a bowl game because they have a losing record against division I-A” Bowl:
MPC Computers Bowl: Nevada vs. Miami (FL)

The Directional School Bowls:
Papajohns.com Bowl: East Carolina vs. South Florida
Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee

The “I’m 1 yard short of the BCS and I end up here?” Bowl:
Texas Bowl: Rutgers v. Kansas State

The “We’re so happy we didn’t hire you” Bowl:
Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Florida

The “Let’s do this again sometime” bowl:
National Championship Game: Michigan v. Ohio State